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With a population of 8 million, the city of Bogotá is situated 2,600 metres above sea level and is flanked by the chilly Andean peaks to the east. This city has now emerged as the trendy capital of Colombia. Safe enough to visit, but still gritty enough to remind you that you are not home anymore. Bogotá is no longer a poster child for drug-fueled violence.

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Funicular station at Cerro de Monserrate

Stretches of drab urban jungle in Bogotá is not conventionally pretty. But it does reward intrepid travellers of neighbourhoods to unearth artistic and cultural gems.

For example, the colonial historic quarter of La Candelaria, home to gothic churches and centuries-old Spanish-tiled houses, is now a bohemian enclave where one can find graffiti murals, hostels, restaurants and bars. Restored buildings and houses in an array of faded pastel colours that date back to the 1500s are in this cultural and government epicentre together with a sprinkling of the country’s best universities.

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Casa de Narino, the Presidential Palace

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Plaza de Bolivar

North of the city, the wealthier neighbourhoods have been transformed from strictly residential enclaves into high-design culinary and retail zones. In the exciting Zona Rosa and its pedestrian mall called Zona T, one will not run out of shopping and dining choices.

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The trendy neighbourhood of Usaquén is filled with art galleries, restaurants and the lively “pulgas” (flea) market on Sundays.

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